When he was a kid, Patrick Springer dreamed of becoming a scientist. He was especially fascinated with geology and paleontology. But he discovered that he was, in a word, horrible at math and science. He found words more welcoming than numbers, and started writing for publication in high school when a friend cajoled him into writing for the school paper. Somehow it took.
He has written for daily newspapers for almost 20 years, at the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D., and The Forum in Fargo, N.D.
His work also has appeared in Newsweek. He has covered murder cases, parades, scandals and a dog that could climb trees. He teaches journalism and writing at Concordia College, where he is a visiting journalist.
A few years ago, Martin Fredricks became captivated by the story of two guys who happened to record a Duke Ellington performance in Fargo, N.D. He has nurtured this article like a chef frets over a duck á l'orange. Fredricks knows to appreciate a fine story, having worked so hard at jobs that required more in the way of stamina than finesse. That is to say, his first job in 1990, fresh out of the English program at North Dakota State University, was to edit a small town weekly newspaper, as difficult a journalistic task as there is. These days, he still works very hard, but under kinder conditions. In addition to freelance writing, he is an advertising agency copywriter.
You will see Julie Babler's fingerprints all over this magazine. She is the art director/designer for North Dakota State University, but she's on the verge of taking over the whole shop. She also writes seriously good headlines, and is not a bad photographer. She shot the photo of the lower Manhattan skyline on pp. 2-3 while on vacation a few years ago, obviously never imagining that it would someday appear as a memorial.
The press-release definition of David Danbom is: professor of history at North Dakota State University since 1974, a nationally-known scholar of American agricultural history, recipient of numerous awards from colleagues and students, prolific researcher and writer. Students love him; evaluations are full of comments about having hated history in high school and being quite surprised to not only enjoy his classes but to actually learn from him. While these statements are accurate, they fail to capture Danbom's wit and wisdom, the rare ability to write beautifully yet simply.
Jonathan Twingley's career ambitions determine his current location - national publications tend to be located in New York City -but he returns happily and frequently to family and friends in his native North Dakota. His illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Book Review, The Washington Post, The Utne Reader and other national publications.
In 1998 he had his first solo exhibition of drawings at the Visual Arts Gallery in New York. Twingley earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1998.
Dale Keiger is a writer, teacher, marathon runner and avid backroads driver. Professionally he's a senior writer at Johns Hopkins Magazine, where he reports on the fine arts, humanities scholarship, collegiate athletics, and people not easily categorized. He's also a visiting associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. He comes to NDSU magazine by way of a writers' conference at which he confessed a long-standing fascination with North Dakota, a place he's never been. Much of his essay was composed in his head during a pair of 20-mile training runs, and refined on a few long drives. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Ross is a dad, an information technology professional in a supervisory role at North Dakota State University and an historian who has taught at the university. With these varied perspectives on people, he was asked to write an opinion piece on how people react to change, particularly to changes in technology. Given so much leeway on such a very broad topic, it was up to him to figure out how. (Sort of a chance to make the professor take a test. He passed, but had to sweat it out a bit.) His approach was to narrow the topic to his observations of children progressing through technology.
Jerry Richardson is the writer and editor many of us hope, someday, to become. In his years as director of the North Dakota State University communications office, he made more friends, wrote more insightful stories, launched better publications and remained calmer than anyone before or since. While editor of the NDSU alumni newsletter, Bison Briefs, the publication received more than 50 regional and national awards, and in 1985 was named one of the top two alumni newspapers in the nation. He came to work at NDSU in 1963 and retired in 1993. Though he still does an awful lot of work for the good of the organization, as he puts it, at least he doesn't have to get up every morning, put on a coat and tie and race to the office.